Notes from our first meeting.

This inaugural meeting discussed the rationale behind the ‘Office For The Design Economy’. The founders offered some insight and perspective about what their motivations were for setting up the organisation and what the main driving force was behind the whole agenda of a design policy for Scotland.
 
Andy Harrold was arguing that an organised design economy could improve the scope and credibility of design professionals and the economy alike. Christy Cole thought that there should be more demands in Scotland for improved opportunities for designers and businesses to promote their work internationally.  Both founders shared a common goal explaining the role of design and in understanding how other global economies made the international case for their strategy of policy to be successfully implemented / embedded within their culture. Was it the same for manufacturing and strategic consulting?
 
Brian McLaren, Managing director of Ekos, is a researcher and economist interested in the development of creative industries. He gave some structure to the proceedings, namely, asking three question of the attendees.

  • Do we need another group such as the OFTDE ?

  • What exactly are the goals?

  • What impact and outputs could the group realise?

The main thrusts of the discussion:

  • No collective voice for design in Scotland

  • Need to recognise the breadth of design activity (eg in manufacturing and engineering etc)

  • Design poorly understood and largely under valued

  • Demand for design limited - companies perceive it as expensive and unsure of its value

  • Economic case but also case in relation to design's wider social contribution

It was noted that we need to be careful not to present design as a panacea - design is not the answer for all companies.
 
There is a definite opportunity to lobby for a design policy as a legacy of the 2016 Year of Architecture etc - maybe consider alignment with, and contribution to, Government's major social (and economic) policies.
 
There is a definite need to identify high profile champions from different aspects of public life - for example, Harry Burns and Jim McColl.
 
Other points made: The OFTDE should not seek funding from Creative Scotland or Scottish Enterprise, but maybe for specific projects that might arise. Better to remain independent.
 
There was some discussion of a possible opportunity to stage a design event/ festival as part of the Merchant City Festival - Fruitmarket available as a venue and Glasgow Life possibly interested in helping out.
 
Overall, the general consensus was that there is a willingness to continue the discussion. The group would have to think about seeking input on who else should be engaged with the project and on the main priorities for OFTDE.
 
The next call to action for discussion is to consider the priorities of OFTDE and map out a process/ plan:
 

  • articulate the case

  • widen engagement

  • agree set of priority goals

    NEXT MEETING:
    MONDAY 7TH MARCH 2016 (6-8PM)
    5TH FLOOR, MERCAT BUILDING, 26 GALLOWGATE, GLASGOW G1 5AB
    PLEASE RSVP BEFORE FRIDAY 4TH OF MARCH. JOIN THE MAIL LIST IF HAVEN'T ALREADY DONE SO